Urgent action needed, including emailing individual Seattle City Councilmembers and the Mayor, to prevent further reductions of on-street parking in crowded neighborhoods

Last year, Livable Phinney won a great victory before the Hearing Examiner. Seattle City Code allows efficiency unit developments with no parking in neighborhoods with “frequent transit.” The flawed rationale is that if transit is frequent, cars aren’t needed. Frequent transit is defined as one bus every 15 minutes. Livable Phinney was able to show for a project in their neighborhood that, though the bus schedule shows buses arriving every 15 minutes, in actuality, 40% of the time, buses were not “frequent,” so the Hearing Examiner agreed that an efficiency unit development without parking was illegal and couldn’t be built.

The Seattle City Council majority refuses to address parking overcrowding and is prepared to change the definition of “frequent transit” from one bus every 15 minutes to one bus every 20 minutes to continue to avoid addressing parking.

The Herbold Amendment: Councilmember Lisa Herbold has proposed an amendment (see attached) to address parking overcrowding in some neighborhoods. Under current City Code, even if a parking study shows a development will aggravate parking overcrowding, STAFF CANNOT ADD MITIGATING CONDITIONS to address parking. Under the Herbold Amendment, if on-street parking occupancy in the surrounding neighborhood is at or above 85%, staff can add mitigating conditions, such as requiring additional off-street parking, denying RPZ passes to buildings shown to aggravate parking overcrowding, or other measures.

ACTION REQUESTED:  Please email the listed Councilmembers and Mayor urging them to support the Herbold Amendment, which will probably be considered by the full City Council at its April 2, 2018 meeting at 2PM in City Hall. It is critical that we support Councilmember Herbold to show the full City Council how important parking is to the neighborhoods. A simple, sample email that can be used or modified is provided below; the below list of Councilmembers and Mayor could be pasted in the “To:” field, though separate emails to each Councilmember and the Mayor would probably be more effective.


Use this template or write your own:

Dear Councilmembers and Mayor:

Please support Councilmember Herbold’s amendment to Council Bill 119173, off-street parking regulations, currently scheduled for consideration by the full City Council on April 2, 2018.  The amendment allows, but doesn’t require, parking mitigation for an individual project, when on-street parking occupancy in the surrounding neighborhood is at or above 85%.

lisa.herbold@seattle.gov, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov, rob.johnson@seattle.gov, debora.juarez@seattle.gov, mike.obrien@seattle.gov, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov , teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov, lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov, jenny.durkan@seattle.gov


The Herbold Amendment Summary: Councilmember Lisa Herbold has proposed an amendment to CB119221 (previously CB119173) to address parking overcrowding in some neighborhoods.

Under current City Code, even if a parking study shows a development will aggravate parking overcrowding, staff cannot add mitigating conditions to address parking.

Under the Herbold Amendment, if on-street parking occupancy in the surrounding neighborhood is at or above 85%, staff can add mitigating conditions, such as requiring additional off-street parking, denying RPZ passes to buildings shown to aggravate parking overcrowding, or other measures.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold Amendment – SEPA mitigation of off-street parking impacts

READ full text here (updated): Council Bill 119173: Potential amendments for vote – Attachment 9. Amendment Fa: SEPA mitigation authority 

This amendment would change the City’s policies under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) to allow the city to condition approval of development on parking for projects within an area with frequent transit service in an urban village and to allow mitigation of parking impacts through limits on RPZ permits.

The City’s SEPA policies, pursuant to Washington State law, require analysis of impacts of development on parking. If impacts are identified, the City’s SEPA policies provide a range of methods to mitigate those impacts, including:

  • Transportation management programs;
  • Parking management and allocation plans;
  • Incentives for use of alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles;
  • Increasing the amount of parking required for the development; or
  • Reducing non-residential development densities.

However, the SEPA policies remove the authority to mitigate parking impacts from individual projects in areas where parking requirements have been removed. This includes the following areas:

  • Most Urban Centers, such as Capitol Hill/First Hill, Downtown, South Lake Union, Uptown and parts of the University Community;
  • Station Area Overlay districts (around light rail stations);
  • Parts of urban villages within a frequent transit service area; and
  • Areas where on-street parking is not at capacity and would not be at capacity after the development.

The proposed amendment would allow parking mitigation in frequent transit service areas in urban villages when parking is at or over 85% capacity and would allow restrictions on RPZ permits as a potential mitigation measure.

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